What have been your main achievements and milestones?
MARIA DE FÁTIMA CARIOCA AESE is the oldest business school in Portugal. It was established, in 1982, as a private, not-for-profit association and has provided executive programs ever since. Our focus is on executive education, and our first program was the top management program called Programa de Alta Direção de Empresas (PADE), which is now in its 44th edition. More programs have also been added to our portfolio. One of our milestones was in 2000, when we began the Executive MBA, which is now in its 18th year. As a business school, we are focused on leadership and management education. Our main achievement is being the only school in Portugal that is a stand-alone business school. Another important distinctive factor of AESE's ethos is that it was established as a joint project between business leaders and entrepreneurs and international business schools. Everyone who works at AES—participants, sponsors, and alumni—believe in its mission of building a humane society through the transformation of business leaders. The biggest outcome of the school is it 6,000-plus alumni, comprised of businesspeople, owners of enterprise, C-level executives, managing directors, and team leaders. Many of them strive to make an impact on society with new ideas, initiatives, and business, but with a social purpose.
CLARA RAPOSO ISEG was the first school of economics and management to be founded in Portugal. ISEG's current designation as a proper school and a university dates back to 1911, our founding year. We are a business school, but we are not exclusively a business school in the sense that we not only have a department of management but also a strong economics department. Moreover, the university has departments of social sciences (comprising sociology, law, and history) and mathematics. A strong feature of our culture that has developed over the years is our commitment to diversity. ISEG preaches plurality; we take scientific research seriously, and everyone at the university is well opinionated. We have students and faculty from different educational backgrounds and different schools of thought. We encourage debate and create a space to learn theory and take different points of view. A few years ago, we felt we weren't perhaps as trendy as other schools that focused on specific areas of business because we kept a full coverage of several different topics; however, at present, we believe millennials and their new approach to life makes us truly modern. Keeping that in mind, we recently updated our motto from “Open minds for a changing world" to “Open minds for a better world." Notably, there are numerous success stories of our students going on to becoming leaders.
What opportunities do you see in expansion partnerships in other markets?
MDFC We are part of the IESE network. We are connected with 23 schools all over the world, from Europe, Latin America to Africa and Asia. Apart from that, we have many partnerships typically related to the programs we deliver. These include IIMA from Ahmedabad in India, American schools, the Krakow School of Business in Poland, and the Donau Business School in Austria. We also have joint research programs or projects. Another strategic path involves Portuguese-speaking countries, where we are planning to expand.
How does the AACSB recognition benefit the school?
CR It makes it easier for international students to recognize us. It is important to go through the accreditation process with AACSB because it allow us to identify our strengths and weaknesses, as well as our opportunities to improve. The university sees it as a highly important mechanism to attract international audiences; only 5% of business schools in the world have achieved this recognition.
What are AESE's future plans?
MDFC We will be discussing a great deal about future business models and the future of work. In 2019, as a consequence, we expect to strengthen the programs accordingly. For example, AI, robotization, and blockchain are three subjects that we have to embed in our programs. It is important for business models to understand how they can profit from technology and science evolution.
Do you have any joint programs with other universities?
CR We have a new double-degree undergraduate program in our finance department with Kozminski University, a triple-crown accredited institution in Poland. For the master's in actuarial science, since our school has a strong department in the area of risk and insurance, we have a partnership with the British Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, allowing our students to get exemptions for exams to become actuaries in the UK. In addition, we have several partner universities across the world for all programs.